North Sails NEWS

Story Contributors: Jesper Feldt

THE PERFECT MATCH: NORTH SAILS + X-YACHTS

When Customers Choose the Best Boats, They Also Want the Best Sails

X4³ sail trial, November 2021   📸  X-Yachts

X-Yachts and North Sails have shared a very strong connection for more than 40 years, with a common vision and commitment to producing the best boats, together with the best sails. The collaboration is based on the fact that a fast, high-quality boat needs a sail inventory to match. And that’s exactly what the collaboration between X-Yachts and North Sails does. 

As mentioned before, the strong connection isn’t new. We need to go all the way back to the early 1980s, when both X-Yachts and Sejlmagerne – which later became Diamond Sailmakers and in 1995 became part of and changed its name to North Sails – saw the light of day. 

Ib Ussing Andersen, who founded Sejlmagerne with Jens Christensen and Henrik Søderlund, says: 

“X-Yachts built their first series-produced boat, the X79, in 1979, and we started our sailmaker business in January 1980. Relatively soon after that, we started a close collaboration with X-Yachts, where we promoted our own and each other’s products at the same time. It started with us (Ib Ussing Andersen and Jens Christensen) participating in the ¾ tonnes World Cup in Helsinki in 1981, with the X ¾ tonnes Soldier Blue, that was half funded by X-Yachts and half by our own newly founded company (Sejlmagerne). We arrived in Helsinki with a boat that looked like a grandma cruiser next to all the smart racing boats we were sailing against. But nonetheless, we won that World Cup and it was the start of the international success that both X-Yachts and Sejlmagerne – later North Sails – have built on over the years. We went from being a small local boat builder company and a small local sailmaker in Denmark, to becoming some of the bigger players on the water. The close collaboration continued and then we also won the ¾ tonnes World Cup in 1982, this time with the yard’s boat, the X ¾ tonnes Lille Du. The collaboration continued and grew even stronger when X-Yachts started producing their ½ tonnes and other ¾ tonnes and subsequently their 1-tonne. In 1985, we sailed the Admirals Cup for the first time – I sailed Euro-Class with Jens Christensen and we became best In-shore boat and won the small class. It attracted some international attention, which was enormously beneficial for both companies and which for Sejlmagerne became a stepping stone for the even larger boats. And X-Yachts started building larger boats, later up to 60 feet.”

X4³ sail trial, November 2021  📸  X-Yachts

“When X-Yachts ingeniously launched their X99 in 1985, one could acquire a proof of purchase for a small amount and later confirm the desire to buy by extending the proof of purchase by a further smaller amount. It became such a huge success that even though we (Sejlmagerne) were among the very first to buy the proof of purchase, we ended up getting boat number 200 or so, as X-Yachts simply could not keep up with the great interest and demand. At that time, X-Yachts was not the major international world player as they are today, but a relatively local company in Haderslev, Denmark, that via the aforementioned attention in connection with the World Cup victories, had gained a relatively large market in countries such as Norway, Sweden and Italy.”

“The close collaboration with X-Yachts also grew stronger due to the fact that we have been asked to help complete the development of their designs, in terms of how e.g. rig and equipment should look in order for the boat to sail in the best possible way. The collaboration with Niels, Lars and Birger has been driven by a common interest and has continued with the new owners of X-Yachts. When we started, no one could have dreamed of how big both companies would become.”

Jesper Feldt is the sales manager and general manager at the North Sails loft in Herlev, Denmark. His CV contains an impressive list of many of the biggest races – America’s Cup, Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta, St Barths Bucket, Rolex Middle Sea Race, Les Voiles de St Tropez, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Swan Worlds, just to name a few. In addition to many days on the road (and water), there is also a lot to take care of at the loft in Herlev. Among other things, Jesper, as daily manager, has taken over the collaboration with X-Yachts. 

X4³ sail trial, November 2021  📸  X-Yachts

Jesper says: “In the mid-90s, the “big boat” racing stopped in Denmark and X-Yachts began focusing more on Performance Cruisers. Regardless of whether it was boats designed for racing or cruising, the sails should be optimized for the given use. Sejlmagerne came into play by being able to build really good racing sails and in the 40 years since then, the boats and materials have developed a lot. In the beginning, we built panel sails and many new materials were added. Kevlar, Mylar and laminate sails were introduced to the market and X-Yachts and North Sails each developed, both in terms of materials and boat design, but also in terms of sail design. Throughout, X-Yachts has chosen state of the art materials, including 3Di sails that we build for the X-boats today. X-Yachts stands for design and quality andtherefore goes hand in hand with our sails. When customers choose the best boats, they also want the best sails.”

“The majority of the X-Yachts customers today don’t buy boats with the intention of racing in them, although the boats are competitive in racing. They want a boat with plenty of space, that sails well and with sails that are easy to handle. Many of the boats are delivered with roller furling sails which works really well on an X-Yacht. Even though we are talking boats over 50 feet, a single person can set the sails and handle them, despite the large number of square meters. This is due to the choice of good materials that are light and manageable and it’s one of the things we have developed and worked a lot on and have succeeded very well with.”

“We custom designed 3Di ENDURANCE sails for the new, updated X4³, that hit the water for the first time in November last year and has already set a new standard for luxury performance cruisers. After the first sea trial, there was not an issue or complaint on either the sail or boat design. Now we have also designed and built an Easy Furling Gennaker and a 3Di Code 65 for the X4³, which we were out testing the other day. We plan to go out again as soon as possible as we are working on producing more “How To” videos, such as the ones we recorded with Bouwe Bekking last year. Among other things, we will show how to handle a snuffer, how to install battens – basically how to handle your entire sail inventory. There has been a huge interest in the first videos we made with Bouwe, so we are going to make many more of them.”

“When North Sails custom designs sails for X-Yachts, they are never standard solutions. In addition to design, North Sails also contributes with groundbreaking technology and performance and is the perfect match for X-Yachts’ accomplished and uncompromising design. We are proud of what we have achieved together so far and look forward to much more to come.”

Please get in touch with Jesper Feldt to discuss sail inventory options or X-Yachts CEO Kræn Nielsen.

X56 sail trial, 2020  📸  X-Yachts

Story Contributors

The Perfect Match: North Sails + X-Yachts  headshot
Jesper Feldt

General Manager, Loft Manager, Sales Manager — Herlev, Danmark Malmö, Sweden

For Jesper Feldt er forholdet til kunderne og kollegerne den vigtigste del af jobbet som chef for sejlloftet i Herlev. Det er ham magtpåliggende, at alle parter er glade, hver gang et sejl forlader loftet. Jesper har studeret økonomi og...

  • #GoBeyond